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28 November 2008
Omotesando Hills To Remodel at Three-Year Mark
To open with 15 new stores on March 6, 2009 read on >> Mori Building has announced a remodeling of its shopping building Omotesando Hills, timed to the complex's third anniversary next February. The remodeling will include the introduction of 15 new shops — including foreign brands Milly, AKM Plus, and Transit Par-Such — and the renovation of two existing stores. The new building theme will be "Precious, Timeless, Borderless."

The newly-remodeled Omotesando Hills will open on March 6, 2009.

Keywords: Mori Building , Omotesando Hills , Omotesando
26 November 2008
Adidas Japan to Merge with Reebok Japan
Reebok Japan to be absorbed and dissolved on December 31 read on >> adidas Japan — Japanese subsidiary to German athletic apparel maker adidas Ltd. AG — has announced a merger with Reebok Japan. The merger will commence on December 31.

In the merger contract unveiled at a November 18th extraordinary shareholders meeting, Reebok Japan will be dissolved and then absorbed into adidas Japan. adidas Japan will subsequently handle production, import/exports, sales, and all other services for shoe brands adidas, Reebok, and Rockport  in Japan.
Neither party has disclosed the financial terms of the merger in more detail.
adidas Ltd. AG acquired Reebok International Limited in January 2006 for $12.8 billion.

Keywords: adidas
25 November 2008
Cartier to Drop Prices by 10%
Back to 2006 price level read on >> French luxury jewelry brand Cartier has announced a near-10% drop in retail prices across Japan starting on November 21. This comes after several years of price increases in response to rising material costs, bringing prices back to 2006 level.

The price decrease will go into effect across all 33 stores in Japan, on almost all items.

The stated goal is to readjust prices to the changing euro/yen exchange rate and make the brand more competitive for holiday season sales.

Keywords: Cartier
21 November 2008
H&M to Open Store in Lalaport Shinmisato
Will open with the shopping center on September 1, 2009 read on >> Fast fashion brand H&M will be opening a store within upcoming Saitama shopping center Lalaport Shinmisato — the Swedish company's first planned suburban expansion. The store will open concurrently with the shopping center on September 1, 2009.

H&M has not officially confirmed or announced the Lalaport store, but Senken Shimbun reported Mitsui Fudosan as saying the two parties were currently in negotiation.

Lalaport Shinmisato is planned to offer customers a total 200 stores. Shinmisato is approximately one hour from Tokyo by train.

Keywords: shopping center , H&M , Mitsui
20 November 2008
Sanyo Shokai, Burberry, and Mitsui Form Joint Venture
Burberry will hold the majority stake in this new accessory-import sales company read on >> Major apparel company Sanyo Shokai has announced the establishment of a three-way joint venture with trading company Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and British brand Burberry to sell Burberry's imported bags and accessories in Japan. The new company will begin operations sometime in 2009.

Burberry will hold a majority stake in the company.

Keywords: Mitsui , Burberry , Sanyo Shokai
19 November 2008
Ferragamo to Drop Prices on New Goods
This 10% drop follows a similar move in June read on >> Starting this month, Ferragamo Japan has initiated a price drop around 10% on all new products.

In June of this year, Ferragamo dropped prices by 10% on 15 items with the goal of reaching a wider customer base. In the November 19 issue of Nikkei's Marketing Journal, Ferragamo CEO Michele Norsa claimed that June's decrease in prices directly led to an increase in sales and traffic. In the same interview, he claimed that this latest reduction in prices was not related to the weaker euro, but mentioned that a stronger yen could allow another price decrease in the future.

Ferragamo currently projects a 6-8% decline in Japanese revenue for 2008. The Japanese market makes up around 20% of Ferragamo's global sales.
18 November 2008
adidas to Open Giant adidas Performance Center in Shibuya
Largest Japanese retail space yet to open on December 23 read on >> adidas Japan will open its largest national store — adidas Performance Center Shibuya — in the Shibuya neighborhood on December 23. The location is across from popular shopping building Shibuya 109 on Bunkamura Street (address: Udagawacho 23-5).

The three-story shop will have 1009.8 square-meters of sales space and sell almost all adidas product lines, including adidas by Stella McCartney, adidas Premium Style, and adilibria.

Keywords: adidas , Shibuya 109 , Shibuya
18 November 2008
Itochu to Bring Celebrity-Favored L.A. Boutique Kitson to Japan
Branding to run retail locations read on >> Trading company Itochu Corporation has signed a contract with famed Los Angeles boutique Kitson to bring the store to Japan. The contract gives Itochu the rights to operate stores for, use the shop name of, and license goods for Kitson in Japan.

The first shop is scheduled to open in spring 2009, operated by Branding (previously Xavel) of Tokyo Girls Collection. The companies hope to have 20 Kitson stores within five years, at a sales base of ¥5 billion.

This will be the first store for Kitson outside of the United States, but the boutique plans on a wider global expansion in the short-term.

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection , Branding , Itochu
17 November 2008
MAX & Co. to Open Japan-targeted Website
First country-specific site for the Italian brand read on >> Italian apparel brand MAX & Co. will unveil a new website in late February 2009 targeted towards Japanese women. This will be the company's first country-specific internet site. MAX & Co. is working with Hakuhodo Creative Vox on the site's production.

Model Kiki will act at the brand's spokeswoman, giving her a platform on the blog to introduce her favorite looks. 

Keywords: MAX & Co.
17 November 2008
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Announce Complete Corporate Integration by 2011
Full-term fiscal projections lowered read on >> Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings — the recently-formed holding company of Japanese department stores Isetan and Mitsukoshi — has announced that the two merging units will complete corporate integration by 2011. This is two years earlier than originally proposed.

The original plan called for completely integrating the two department stores' credit card businesses in 2013, but now in the face of a harsh business environment, the company has decided to move faster in order to more quickly reap the rewards of an integrated system.

The company's mid-term plan involves the following steps: The holding company will invest ¥49 billion in three retail locations within the metropolitan area in order to increase the department stores' competitiveness. The two department stores' credit cards will start working at both brands from spring 2009 before being combined into one card in 2011. In April 2010, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings will break off regional stores into subsidiary companies.

The holding company aims for a consolidated operating profit of ¥50 billion in 2011 — double the expected figure for 2008.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings recently lowered their expectations for the fiscal year ending in March 2009. The revised full-term revenue expectation stands at ¥1.48 trillion — a ¥60 billion decrease from original expectations. The revised operating profit is ¥25 billion — ¥9 billion lower than initially projected.  

The company's consolidated net sales for April to September stood at ¥705.436 billion — ¥14.5 billion lowered than originally expected. The operating profit for the first half hit ¥11.22 billion — ¥7.7 billion lower than initial projections.

Keywords: Mitsukoshi , Isetan
17 November 2008
Senken Shimbun: Yevs Sells 130 million Yen in October
Big sales for Yu-Shin Creation's fast-fashion outlet store read on >> Senken Shimbun reported on November 14 that Yu-Shin Creation's fast fashion shop Yevs, located inside Saitama's AEON LakeTown shopping mall, saw ¥130 million in net sales for the month of October. Although the store sells both men's and women's products, women made up 75% of all customers.

Yu-Shin Creation is planning a second Yevs store for Hankyu's Nishinomiya Garden, which will open on November 26.
14 November 2008
Tokyo Girls Collection to Go Back to Back with Shibuya Girls Collection
40,000 expected to attend March 7 and 8, 2009 events read on >> For its spring 2009 event, e-commerce company Branding's "real clothes" fashion and music show Tokyo Girls Collection (TGC) will hold a "Fashion Festa Deluxe" — combining TGC and sister event Shibuya Girls Collection (SGC) into a two-day festival. The events will take place at Yoyogi National Stadium over the weekend of March 7 and 8.

The spring event will be the eighth installment of TGC and third installment of SGC. Planners expect 40,000 attendees over the two days.

Judging by past events, TGC mostly attracts women in their 20s and 30s, while SGC is targeted to a slightly more select audience of older teenagers and women in their early 20s. The latest SGC will include a "O-nii-kei" men's fashion stage that is likely to attract young men as well.

Keywords: Tokyo Girls Collection
14 November 2008
Look to Discontinue Four Brands
Women's brands Chalet Blanc, Givy, Bruno Piatelli, and Baby Beat to be cut read on >> Apparel company Look, Inc. has announced the discontinuation of four brands as part of a large-scale restructuring effort. Look will soon cease the manufacturing and sales of womenswear brands Chalet Blanc, Givy, Bruno Piatelli, and Baby Beat.

Look presently handles sales for Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs in Japan, but will relinquish this business to the newly-formed Marc Jacobs Japan in July 2009. This will result in the loss of around ¥4.9 billion in sales and ¥10 million in operating profits.

As part of restructuring, 150 employees will be asked to voluntarily resign their positions — one-third of the total staff.
14 November 2008
Onward Offers Lower Price Products in New Via Bus Stop MMIX Store
First store to open in Kumamoto on November 28 read on >> Onward Holdings  — holding company to apparel giant Onward Kashiyama — will soon offer a new retail space from its high-end boutique company Bus Stop. The new store Via Bus Stop MMIX (pronounced "mi-mix") will offer products at 50-60% lower prices than the standard Via Bus Stop line-up.

The first Via Bus Stop MMIX store opens on November 28 in the city of Kumamoto (Kyushu). ¥300 million is the expected sales base of this first shop. Onward plans to open seven MMIX locations next spring and three more next autumn. There are currently 13 Via Bus Stop locations across Japan.

Onward hopes MMIX will win younger female customers who have seen disposable income drop in recent years, while keeping a product selection similar in spirit to the more upscale Via Bus Stop chain.

For further reference, see our earlier trend story on Onward and Via Bus Stop.
13 November 2008
Marc Jacobs Partners with Sumitomo Corporation for Japan Subsidiary
To start distributing from July 1, 2009 read on >> Marc Jacobs International has announced a partnership with Sumitomo Corporation to equally invest in a new Japanese corporate entity, Marc Jacobs Japan KK. The new company will be formally established in the next few months, but not start distributing the Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs lines until July 1, 2009.

Marc Jacobs International will cease its current Japanese distribution and license contracts with Look Inc. and Mitsubishi Corporation on June 30, 2009. Previously created through license for Japan, Marc by Marc Jacobs will rely on imports for the Japanese market after the contracts expire.

In the press release, Sumitomo's Director of Lifestyle and Retail Business Shigeru Ohashi was quoted as saying, "Marc Jacobs is one of the most distinct and authentic brands out there in the market today, and Sumitomo is happy to announce this new relationship where we will bring our expertise in addressing a young clientele through our cable TV operations and contents."

Sales for the two Marc Jacobs labels in Japan are estimated at ¥4.9 billion, with ¥10 million in operating profit.

Keywords: Sumitomo
11 November 2008
J.M. Weston Decreases Retail Prices by 20%
Reflects drop in euro over last few months read on >> On November 10, French shoemaker J.M. Weston instituted a 20% drop in retail prices on all items within its Japanese shops. The price decrease reflects the recent drop in the price of the euro, which in the last two months, has lost 30% of its value against the yen.

This price drop should help the brand expand its customer base

Keywords: shoes
11 November 2008
Misaki to Import "Coming Soon"
AW '09-'10 start for Yohji Yamamoto's new Italian-made youth casual line read on >> Foreign apparel importer Misaki has signed an exclusive sales and import license for Coming Soon — Yohji Yamamoto's new youth-focused casual collection line produced by Italian company SINV SpA. The new brand will first hit Japanese shores during autumn/winter '09-'10.

The main distribution channels for Coming Soon will be department stores and select shops, but of course, a standalone store is in the works.

Yamamoto has signed a ten-year licensing deal with SINV SpA for Coming Soon. The brand is expected to produce 200 million euros in wholesaling over the course of the contract.

Keywords: Misaki , Yohji Yamamoto
10 November 2008
bluebell Japan Opens Kansai Flagship for Jimmy Choo in Kobe
Ninth in Japan, but first in Western Japan read on >> On October 24, importer bluebell Japan opened the first Kansai flagship store for shoe brand Jimmy Choo, in the city of Kobe. The store opened within shopping complex Kobe Daimaru Block 31.

The 70 square-meter store is the first Jimmy Choo directly-managed standalone shop in Western Japan, but the overall ninth store in Japan.

Pictures available here.

Keywords: Jimmy Choo , Kobe
10 November 2008
H&M Harajuku Opens to 2000 People
Most came to buy the Comme des Garcons collaboration line read on >> Braving rain and this autumn's coldest weather so far, 2,000 people turned out to the November 8 opening of H&M's new store in Harajuku. A few dedicated individuals started queuing from Wednesday night, and the line reached into the hundreds by the end of Friday night's VIP opening cocktail party.

Most came early in order to make sure they could buy the limited-edition H & M COMME des GARÇONS collaboration line. H&M officials said later in the day that several items like the sneakers, hats, and some styles of shirts had completely sold out on the first day.

The Harajuku store is four floors at a total 1,500 square-meters. The basement is menswear, while the other three floors offer womenswear. The merchandising is much more targeted towards a youth audience than the first Ginza store.

Pictures of the opening available at Fashionsnap.com.

Read our interview with H&M about the H & M COMME des GARÇONS collaboration and the future plan for Japan here.

Keywords: H&M , Harajuku , Comme des Garçons
05 November 2008
Uniqlo Sees First Negative Month in Half-Year
2.5% revenue drop in existing store base read on >> Mass apparel retailer Uniqlo has reported a 2.5% drop in existing store sales for October, the first negative result in six-months.

Although expenditure per customer rose 3.5% for the month, the number of customers decreased 5.8%. Uniqlo blamed the drop in customers on a sudden burst of warm weather.

Keywords: Uniqlo
05 November 2008
Select Shop Company Baycrews Starts Mobile E-commerce Site
"Style Cruise" launched on November 4 read on >> Baycrews — the company behind popular select shops Édifice, Journal Standard, and deuxième classe —  has started a mobile phone-based e-commerce site called Style Cruise (http://style-cruise.jp). The site targets both men and women in their 20s and 30s.

The site opened on November 4 on NTT Docomo's i-mode network and will open on KDDI's EZweb on November 6 and Softbank's Yahoo Keitai on November 12. Shoppers can also order from the PC site.

Shipping for items is free.

Keywords: Baycrews

Interviews

Nov 06 2008
H&M: Harajuku Opening and H & M COMME des GARCONS
An interview with H&M staff about the Harajuku store launch and the new Comme des Garcons collaboration line
Keywords: H&M

Trends

Nov 16 2008
Girl Fashion Talk #2
We talk fashion with four Japanese women in their early 20s over lunch in Shinjuku
Keywords: Louis Vuitton , Shibuya 109 , Uniqlo , Marui , Coach , H&M , ViVi , office ladies , CanCam
Nov 04 2008
ViVi's "Diva's Dream Festa"
In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the fashion magazine throws a runway and music bash in the Tokyo Girls Collection mold
Keywords: ViVi , gyaru , Tokyo Girls Collection

Street-photos

Nov 27 2008
Harajuku Street Photos for November
Lots of military jackets on boys and girls, sheepskin boots, and general fuzziness
Nov 27 2008
Omotesando Street Photos for November
Lots of leather and sheepskin boots with a strong dose of plaid

Brand-profiles

Nov 17 2008
Han Ahn Soon - '09 SS
Thoughts and pictures from the collection show on October 21, 2008